Fear and Yoga in New Jersey

Debra Galant
  • Review
By – January 26, 2012

Fear and Yoga in New Jer­sey is a fun, humor­ous read sad­dled with a lousy title. The nov­el focus­es on Nina and her seem­ing­ly nor­mal, sub­ur­ban New Jer­sey fam­i­ly. How­ev­er, noth­ing is rou­tine for Nina, a yoga teacher (ok, so this is where the yoga’ in the title comes from) whose stress­ful life caus­es her to imi­tate the Walk­ing Dog and oth­er yoga pos­es intend­ed for relaxation. 

Her home life is rife with strife, rang­ing from the out­sourc­ing of her husband’s job as the mete­o­rol­o­gist at the Newark Air­port to her thir­teen-year-old son’s sud­den inter­est in becom­ing a bar mitz­vah. Is it Jew­ish spir­i­tu­al­i­ty or the desire for a finan­cial pay­day that entices young Adam to seek out the local Chabad rab­bi for reli­gious guid­ance? The fact that Nina turned her back on Judaism years before has mud­dled the family’s reli­gious stand. How­ev­er, Adam’s not sure he’s buy­ing what his mom is sell­ing religiously. 

Con­found­ing mat­ters are Nina’s aged par­ents. They decide to evac­u­ate Flori­da due to an impend­ing hur­ri­cane and can’t under­stand why their mete­o­rol­o­gist son-in-law doesn’t call every moment with a storm update. How they even­tu­al­ly arrive at Nina’s house, locat­ed all the way up the East Coast, is humor­ous and com­plete­ly plau­si­ble because 

Galant per­fect­ly cap­tures the tzures rained down upon the mass­es by elder­ly, stereo­typ­i­cal Jews whose behav­iors are laugh­able and nerve-wrack­ing, yet endear­ing. Galant has craft­ed a quick read I did not want to put down. There’s noth­ing com­pli­cat­ed about this book or its plot, but Galant’s sto­ry is so deli­cious you’ll prob­a­bly want to bite into it and eat the whole thing in one sit­ting. Don’t worry…there’s noth­ing to fear in this nov­el, despite the title.

Tami Kamin-Mey­er is a licensed attor­ney who would rather write than fight. Her byline has appeared in a vari­ety of pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing Bet­ter Homes and Gar­dens, The Rotar­i­an, Ohio Super Lawyers, Ohio Lawyers Week­ly, Ohio Mag­a­zine, Cleve­land Jew­ish News, the Jew­ish Tele­graph­ic Agency, and www​.chabad​.edu. She is also an award-win­ning Hebrew school educator.

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